How to Connect Soundbar to TV (9 ways)


Soundbars can be great add-ons to TV in a world where sound quality is of prime importance. Soundbars are compact devices that can be placed adjacent to any display device. These are usually wide, and this is one reason they fill the room with great sound. When connected to a TV, the setup is relatively easy and gives amazing sound quality that is way better than your regular TV experience.

You may also like: How To Choose Your Perfect Soundbar? – The Ultimate Guide

Luckily, there are lots of ways that can let you connect your TV and soundbar. Each one has its own pros and cons. You can find out what works best with your devices and choose the one that comes with a hassle-free connection. So here are various ways to connect a soundbar to the TV so that you can enhance your TV watching experience. 

How To Connect Soundbar To TV With HDMI?

Connecting the soundbar to the TV with HDMI is the best option if your TV supports HDMI. Here again, you have two options, either use HDMI ARC (audio return channel) or connect a device to the soundbar, which in turn is connected to the TV.

Connect Soundbar To TV With HDMI ARC
Connect Soundbar To TV With HDMI ARC

If you go with the first method, connect one end of the HDMI cable to an HDMI port on the TV and the other end to the HDMI OUT port on the soundbar. Using another HDMI cable, connect one end to the HDMI OUT port of the device and the other end to the HDMI IN port on the soundbar. Press the source button on the soundbar, and the display shows “HDMI”. Now switch on the TV and change its source to the port where the soundbar is connected.

The second method needs an HDMI cable to connect to the HDMI ARC port at the back of the soundbar.  The other end of the cable can be connected to the TV. Remember that the HDMI port you have at the back of the TV is the out port and that at the back of the soundbar is the in port. Once the connection is done, press the source button on the remote and then select D.IN.

HDMI is a popular choice because of the fact that it supports higher-resolution audio when compared to others. But not every device can connect an HDMI cable, and hence there arises a need to look for other compatible options.

Example: How to connect your Samsung Soundbar to a TV Using HDMI ARC

How To Connect Soundbar To TV With Optical Cable?

Most soundbars come with an optical cable these days, so there is no need for shopping. Like HDMI, optical cables pass digital audio and deliver good quality sound. Connect anyone end of the optical cable to the OPTICAL OUT port of the TV and the other end to the DIGITAL AUDIO IN port of the soundbar. Press the source button on the remote and select D.IN setting. Go to the settings of the TV and find Quick settings. Highlight TV Speaker option and change it to optical so that you get quality sound output from the soundbar.

How to Hook Up Your Soundbar With An Optical Cable
How to Hook Up Your Soundbar With An Optical Cable

Example: How to: Hook Up Your Soundbar With An Optical Cable

How To Connect Soundbar To TV With Coaxial Cable?

Coaxial cable comes into the picture if you are using older TV models. This cable has a nut on either end, and a wire protrudes out of it. To connect the soundbar to the TV with a coaxial cable, you will need a DVD player. Connect one end of the cable to the output of the DVD player and the other end to the TV’s input. The audio output of the player is then connected to the soundbar using HDMI, AUX, or RCA cables. This will make your TV just a display device and nothing more while the soundbar plays the sound.

If Soundbar and TV have a coaxial port, you can connect them together using a Coaxial Audio Cable. You should buy a 75-ohm coaxial digital audio cable. This will ensure that the digital audio signal will transmit correctly with no errors.

Mediabridge Ultra Series Digital Audio Coaxial Cable (4 Feet)

If your TV has Digital Audio Coaxial Output but your soundbar has Optical Input, You can use a coaxial to an optical converter to change the audio type and connect them together.

Whizzotech Coaxial to Toslink Optical Digital Audio Converter 24bit/192K HD Sampling

How To Connect Soundbar To TV With Red And White Cable (RCA Cable)?

This connection again is best suited to older TVs. You can call it a convenient way of connecting devices but not backward in its performance. RCA cable is an analog cable, and as a result, the sound quality may not be on par with the sound transmitted by digital cables. But this still is a trustworthy option if your devices don’t support others.

For using RCA cables, it is necessary that both the cable and the TV have RCA output ports. Connect the white RCA cable to the white RCA port on the TV and the red RCA cable to the red RCA port on the TV. You don’t have to use the black cable here as it is used for video inputs only. The next step is to connect the other end of the red cable to the red port and the white cable to the white port on the soundbar. The connection is ready.

How To Connect Your Soundbar Using A 3.5mm Audio Cable AUX?

There was a time when there was no word like ‘wireless’ in the digital world and 3.5mm audio cable was in the limelight. Unlike optical or HDMI cables, aux cables use an analog connection. This makes the sound quality not as good as the other two. But this is a great way to connect your soundbar to the TV if all you own is an old TV. Switch on both TV and the soundbar and plug one end of the cable to the AUX IN port on the soundbar. Connect the other end of the cable to the AUDIO OUT port on the TV. Using the remote, change the mode of the soundbar to AUX. You can now listen to your TV shows with the help of a soundbar.

Amazon Basics 3.5 mm Male to Male Stereo Audio Cable

How To Connect Soundbar To TV With Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is one good option favorite to many. The reason is obvious, this type of connection requires no cables and hence no confusion. Though it is a very convenient method, the connection may not be very stable, especially if there is any disturbance.

You will find the Pair button on the soundbar remote, which lets you pair the device with other Bluetooth devices. Press this button, and the display shows ‘BT’ to indicate that the source is set to Bluetooth. The display will then show ‘BT Pairing’ when it searches for devices to pair with.

Now using the TV remote, go to the source and select Connection Guide. Select Audio Device and then Bluetooth. You can select the name of the soundbar when it appears, and the Bluetooth connection is successful.

Further reading: How To Pair Samsung Soundbar To Samsung TV?

How To Connect Soundbar To TV Via Wi-Fi Network? 

Connecting the soundbar to TV using Wi-Fi is a good choice as it has many advantages. But before going for this method, ensure that your TV model was released after the year 2013. If not, this option will not work for you. One another requirement is that the TV and the soundbar must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

To make the connection, press the source button on the soundbar remote and choose the Wi-Fi mode. Connect the TV and your mobile to the same Wi-Fi network. Open the respective app (one that works with your soundbar) on your mobile. For example, if you own a Samsung soundbar, open the Samsung SmartThings app. Press the add icon and select Device. Press AV and select the brand of your soundbar and then tap soundbar. Now tap Start and select the location. The mobile will then automatically connect to the soundbar.

After the connection is made, the TV may lose its connection with the Wi-Fi. You can establish the connection again using the sound settings depending on what model TV you have.

Further reading: How to connect Samsung soundbar to wifi?

Why Go For Wi-Fi?

Amongst the wireless options, Wi-Fi is preferred over Bluetooth, owing to the benefits it offers. First, Wi-Fi has a wider range when compared to Bluetooth. Bluetooth usually works within 30 feet and not more. Wi-Fi has a larger area covered and works well if the signal is strong. So all your device needs are to be within the range.

Secondly, many devices can be connected simultaneously to the same Wi-Fi network. This means that more than one soundbar can be connected to it at a time. This will definitely make way for far superior sound quality.  

How Do You Connect A Soundbar To A TV Without HDMI Or Optical?

There are many who don’t want to use HDMI or optical to connect their TV and soundbar. The reasons could be varied, like the devices don’t support these, or maybe they just want to go creative. Whatever the reason is, you still have plenty of options available.

Aux cables are excellent alternatives to HDMI and optical. These cables can be connected to the headphone jacks of the TV and soundbar. It is probable that the soundbar has a 3.5 mm jack. In that case, use AUX to RCA cable to get the work done.

Older TVs usually work with coaxial and RCA cables. Check if the TV has RCA output ports so that a direct connection can be made. Else you will have to split the signal that reaches the TV. On the other hand, if you are using a coaxial connection you may need a DVD player whose output is connected to one end of the coaxial cable. The other end is plugged into the TV’s input and the connection is made.

One other easy option to try is the wireless method. You can choose Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and still get the benefits of not messing with cables all around. Yes, these alternatives work without the need to connect any cables. Make sure that the connection is steady and it doesn’t get disconnected due to disruptions. It is also imperative that the TV and soundbar both are placed within the coverage area of the network.

How Do You Connect A Soundbar To A Non-Smart TV or old TV

Isn’t your TV smart enough to connect to your soundbar in the ways discussed above? No worries. There are still loads of options to try so that you land the perfect sound experience.

Using 3.5 mm Male to Male Stereo Audio Cable

Most TVs have a headphone jack (3.5mm port). This will assist you in making a connection with the soundbar, which has a headphone jack (3.5mm port) too. With the help of a 3.5mm male-to-male stereo audio cable, connect the 2 headphone jacks, and your TV-soundbar connection is done.

Using the Analog RCA Connections

This is a simple way to connect a TV and soundbar. But remember that this can only produce stereo sound and not surround sound. So if your soundbar usually gives surround sound, don’t expect that when using the analog RCA connection. There are two cables, red and white that are used here. Each end of these cables is connected to the respective ports of the TV, and the other ends are plugged into the input ports of the soundbar to establish a secure connection.

Using Converter/Adapter

A converter/adapter is useful when the soundbar and the TV have different connection options. Take a look at these.

1. Using 3.5mm (headphone jack) to RCA cable converter or Using RCA to 3.5mm converter

You will get bi-directional RCA to 3.5mm cable in stores to connect devices of RCA interface and auxiliary interfaces like a soundbar and TV. Connect the 3.5mm aux male connector to the soundbar and the RCA connector to the TV; it is as simple as this.

 2. Using RCA to HDMI converter

As most soundbars use HDMI and the older TVs use RCA ports, it becomes necessary to have an RCA output to an HDMI converter. For this, you need an HDMI cable and RCA cables (here, you need only the red and white audio cables).

Firstly, insert the power cable in the converter and switch it on. Plug the red and white wires into the respective ports on the converter and the TV. Now connect one end of the HDMI cable to the converter’s output and the other end to the soundbar. This will enable you to hear your TV from the soundbar.   

Why Can’t I Connect My Soundbar To My TV?

There can be a number of reasons why you don’t hear from the soundbar or are not able to connect it to your TV. Check these things before anything.

  • See if you have switched on the soundbar.
  • Check whether the volume level is high enough for you to hear.
  • If you have used cables of any kind, check whether you have inserted them in the right ports.
  • If you have used an optical cable, see if the audio setting is set to ‘External Speaker’ and not ‘TV Speaker’.
  • If you are using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, ensure that the connection is intact.
  • If nothing works, turn off your TV and soundbar and turn them on again.

How To Troubleshoot Common Soundbar Problems

Since the soundbar doesn’t have a display, it is difficult to troubleshoot when a problem occurs. But there are a few easy things you can try first before delving deep into the problem. The most obvious is to power off the device and switching it on after 15 seconds. This takes care of most issues. Read on to find a few common issues and their solutions.

Soundbar Is Not Working

When the soundbar is not working, and you cannot hear a thing, check if you have accidentally switched it off. But if the indicator light is on, it means that there is a problem with the sound. You can also check if the remote is working fine. Lastly, check if the connections are properly made and the cables are working fine.

No Sound

If there is no sound output even after switching on the soundbar, check the volume settings first with the remote and then using the volume controls on the device. Next, ensure that the volume of the source device is set at maximum as this lets you hear the sound from a soundbar.

You may also like: How To Choose Your Perfect Soundbar? – The Ultimate Guide

FAQs

Can You Hook Up A Soundbar To An Older TV?

Yes, you can. If your TV and soundbar have different connectors, you will still have a number of ways to get them connected. The best way to connect an old TV to a soundbar is using RCA cables. But if any of the devices don’t support RCA, you can go for optical cable. Yet another option is to use Aux cable to plug in the headphone jack. If you are lucky, your old TV would have an aux port where an aux cable can be inserted.

If nothing works, using an adapter becomes the only solution. While the old TVs have RCA ports, most of the soundbars have HDMI ports. In such cases, you can use an adapter that converts analog signals to digital and make your job easy. 

Is It Better To Connect Soundbar With HDMI Or Optical?

Both HDMI and optical cables can transmit digital audio, making both equally good to connect soundbar. The difference is that HDMI can transmit high-resolution audio while optical cannot. As HDMI can also transmit video signals, there will be lesser wires around if you opt for it. But if the system doesn’t support HDMI then optical will be the best choice as the sound quality is same as that of HDMI.

What Cable Do I Need To Connect Soundbar To TV?

The first option you would want to consider is using HDMI cables as it passes the sound digitally. If your TV does not support this, the next best option is using optical cables that promise clear sound just like HDMI. For older TVs, you can use an auxiliary cable that uses an analog connection. Needless to say, the sound produced might not be as good as the previous options. You can also connect the devices wirelessly using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth that frees you from the trouble of connecting cables of any sort.

Do Soundbars Have Headphone Jacks?

Yes, there are a number of soundbars that come with headphone jacks. This gives a great advantage in that you can plug your earphones in and be on your own without disturbing others. Additionally, you can use the headphone jack to connect a cable with your TV and enjoy better sound.

Can You Connect A Soundbar With USB?

TVs do have USB ports, but these just work with flash drives that can be plugged in to view pictures and files. USB ports cannot be used to connect a soundbar to a TV.

Do Soundbars Work With Any TV?         

Most of the soundbars work with all types of TVs, including the older models. There are all types of cables available in stores (HDMI, optical, coaxial, etc) to help you connect your soundbar to the TV. Just pick the right one for your devices, and you are good to go. There are also soundbars that are specifically made for certain TVs. These will obviously perform better than others.

Are TV Soundbars Worth It?

Soundbars are definitely worth buying. If you thought your TV is good enough, give it a second thought. TVs just give you ordinary sound while the soundbar amplifies it and gives a quality boost. For that excellent theatre-like sound, a soundbar is a must.

What Is The Best Soundbar For TV?

Any soundbar that is compatible with your TV and gives an awesome sound experience is good enough. There are many factors to be considered when buying a soundbar like the number of HDMI ports, multi-room capabilities, whether it gives surround sound, and many more. A good soundbar can be chosen according to individual needs. Some of the good models are Sonos beam for TV 49 inches or less, Sonos arc for TV greater than 49 inches, Vizio V21, Creative Stage, Klipsch Cinema 400, and Yamaha YAS-209.

Soundbar has become an inevitable part of life for those who don’t want to compromise on sound quality. With the brilliant sound it delivers, it gives you that theatre-like experience you have always loved. And when it comes to connecting the soundbar to your TV, nothing can stop you. With advanced technology, there will be one way or another to hook both devices. Find what works with your TV, and here is your mini-theatre, right at your home.  

Andy Avery

Upgrading your TV sound system with a soundbar is one of the simple ways and cost-effective of improving audible, sound effects and music. No investment in amplifier, receiver, and home theater systems that can take up space and leave messy wires.

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